On a cold Wednesday night I decided to check out the movie, Queen & Slim. I laughed, I cried, I got
angry and weary, and I went home with so much on my mind that evening. The 2019
American film was directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe. It’s taken from a story by James Frey and Waithe.
The film starts off with a traffic stop gone wrong and two African-Americans quickly go on the run
after killing a police officer during a traffic stop. In the United States,
African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police
than white people. For black women, the rate is 1.4 times more likely
(Edwards, Lee, & Esposito 2018). Queen & Slim does a wonderful job of playing off the two main characters, one sharing similar values to Martin Luther King, and the other with Malcolm X. As they journey through the film, Queen’s deafening strength out of necessity, and Slim’s faith aligns with every decision that they make.
As I watched the film I couldn’t help but think about the mental health of African Americans, particularly African American Men. As African Americans, we all process race and equality in ways that are personal and help us assimilate and adapt to an unfair society. In the movie, Slim’s hope that things will turn out okay brings an honest realization that African American men need more support around metal health and how to cope with a failing society that doesn’t allow their stories to be told.
If you haven’t seen the film I highly recommend it. Watch it, go with friends, talk and process the film afterwards. Films like this can be therapeautic in their own way and push us to grow. Queen & Slim, unfortunately, isn’t a unique story. We’ve heard too many stories of the injustices that black people continue to face at the hands of the law with no, to little, justice. This film is a reminder of the continued work that needs to be done.